By Keith Idec
About as much separated Yeis Solano and Elias Araujo on the scorecards Friday night as divided them throughout their eight-round bout.
Colombia’s Solano edged Argentina’s Araujo by split decision in an action-packed lightweight fight Showtime televised from Winnavegas Casino Resort in Sloan, Iowa. Two judges – Robert Hoyle (78-73) and Russell Mora (76-75) – scored their fight for Solano, who lost, 77-74, on the scorecard of judge Bob LaFratte.
The left-handed Solano remained undefeated (14-0, 10 KOs), but a relentless Araujo made the 23-year-old southpaw work for virtually every second of their competitive contest. Araujo smothered himself sometimes, but he rarely stopped throwing punches and kept Solano on his back foot for most of the bout.
His activity aside, Araujo, 32, lost for the second time in his past four fights and slipped to 20-2 (8 KOs) in the opener of a “ShoBox: The New Generation” tripleheader.
Araujo bullied a fatigued Solano into the ropes for most of the eighth and final round. He hit Solano with back-to-back right uppercuts with just over a minute remaining in the fight.
Araujo went to the canvas when there were eight seconds to go in the bout, but referee Mark Nelson correctly ruled that Solano’s punch to the back of his head cause the knockdown.
A left hand by Solano temporarily moved Araujo backward at 1:40 of the seventh round. Solano created more distance between him and Araujo in the seventh round than in previous periods, and was able to land some clean punches.
A determined Araujo spent the sixth round backing Solano into the ropes and throwing punches non-stop. Solano connected with several straight left hands, but couldn’t keep Araujo off him.
Araujo got hurt several times in the fourth round, but he took Solano’s shots better throughout the fifth round. The aggressive Araujo kept Solano against the ropes and threw a lot of punches during those three minutes.
Solano caught Araujo with several right hooks at the start of the fourth round. A right-left combination by Solano wobbled Araujo with just over two minutes to go in the fourth.
A couple of right uppercuts by Solano caught Araujo clean later in the fourth, but Solano appeared to tire and couldn’t finish off Araujo. The resilient Araujo mounted a comeback toward the end of the fourth, until Solano hit him with a right hand to the side of his head with 23 seconds to go in it.
Solano scored a knockdown with 12 seconds remaining in the fourth, though it appeared Solano shoved Araujo to the canvas.
Solano landed the straighter, harder shots throughout the second round. Araujo pressed the action, but he threw wide punches, without much on them, most of the time.
Araujo put pressure on Solano throughout the first round and landed his fair share of punches. He was reckless defensively, though, which enabled Solano to hit him with clean punches.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.